The maxi Merit will be stationed in the Southern Ocean to assist any crew that gets into difficulties

Bruno Peyron, organiser of The Race, the first crewed race round the world non-stop, has announced that a maxi-monohull (the ex-Merit) skippered by yachtsman Alain Gabbay, will leave Marseilles at the end of the week to take up station during the race in the Indian Ocean, south of Cape Town (South Africa). The boat will then head for southern New Zealand before sailing for Cape Horn.

The presence of this boat is part of an overall refection on safety pursued by all the skippers and the organisers of The Race.

“For centuries, it has been a tradition that boats always go to the rescue of a vessel in difficulty in the same zone, it is a primary means of providing assistance. Then the rescue services of the navies of the nearest countries are called. For the first time, on the occasion of The Race, we will have at our disposal a new means, complementary and independent, of providing assistance for a vessel in distress”, explained Peyron.

Refitted for this mission, the maxi-monohull will be manned by a doctor proficient in emergency medicine and professional divers. It will be equipped with diving gear and a Zodiac for recovering survivors in the event of a capsize. It will also be carrying new equipment for launching a self-inflating buoy developed by the company RESTECH NORWAY, specialists in warp launchers, especially for deep sea tugboats.

The big safety boat will take up station between Cape Town and the Kerguelen Islands, in the track of the boats of The Race. Once the last competitor has passed, the safety boat will head for New Zealand without passing through the Cook Straits. By this time the boat will be 4 to 5 days behind. She will then proceed on towards Cape Horn 9 to 10 days behind the competitors and will sail back up the Atlantic. This arrangement will enable assistance to be provided in the shortest possible time to the crew of a boat in distress.